I recently requested a book from the library after searching for books on fine tuning writing skills. Writing is My Drink, by Theo Pauline Nestor was written so smoothly that I devoured it in less than 24 hours. And that included taking notes while reading and trying out a couple of the exercises along the way. Every chapter kept me wanting to move forward in the text. Mostly memoir, but partly how-to (find your writing voice), Nestor leads her readers through her own self discovery writing journey. Along the way you become a witness to her relationships with her mom, aunt, father, colleagues, and other authors. The theme of the book, weaved into her personal story, is that if you want to write you have to be honest with yourself about your failures and vulnerabilities, as excruciatingly exposing as that may be.
I went on the search for this book because I'm interested in honing my writing hobby. I'd like to break out of my comfort zone and try some different styles of writing. With that in mind, here are some specific elements/suggestions from Writing is My Drink that seemed both practical and inspiring to me.
**Specific Writing Tasks
1.) Compile a collection of "This is what I think" writings and keep them to close to your writing area.
2.) Write for 10 minutes on the topic of "What is Your True Work?".
3.) Set the timer and write for 15 minutes using the prompt "Where is home?"
4.) Write about the place you grew up. If it was more than 1 place, write about each for 10 minutes apiece. How did each place contribute to your sense of self as a creative person?
5.) Write about a place you love for 10 minutes.
6.) Make a list of times you felt isolated and times you felt part of a community. Pick one from each list and write about them together.
7.) Pick a moment in your history as a creative person and write about it.
8.) Pick a favorite author and read all of their collection (interesting because another book I am reading on writing poetry suggested the same thing).
This is merely a sampling of dozens more writing prompts and exercises. I picked out the ones that I will most likely attempt first.
**Nestor also hosts a blog with the same name as her book (http://writingismydrink.com/). Here you can find endless examples of 2 other types of writings she discusses in her book. One is the 26 Minute Memoir, a specific writing exercise, and the other is called a Triptych, a specific style of memoir writing. You can write your own and submit it to her for publishing on the website. If you are interested in either of those, I recommend that you stop by the blog and check it out.
**One last thing. There was a quote in the book from Nestor's aunt that I wanted to share here. "You can have things or freedom. If you don't deliberately choose, you'll be stuck with things." It's just something that really resonated with me and made me think about it all day.
Overall book rating: If you are interested in writing, either as a hobby or a career, this book will inspire you, coach you, and direct you. I highly recommend it.